Stop screaming “my baby, my baby” when your baby does wrong

Thomas Wortham IV was a three year Chicago police officer and a war veteran.

By Gregory Moore

Picture this scenario if you will.

A young man goes to his parents’ house in a new car or on a new motorcycle in his old neighborhood.

At about 11:00 p.m., the young man decides to head back to his own place of residence and in the process a car rolls up and two men get out.

The intentions of these two men aren’t to ask for directions, they are trying to take the car or motorcycle.

Unbeknownst to the perpetrators, the young man pulls out a gun, announces that he’s a police officer and tries to protect his property and himself. During the commotion, the young man’s father comes out with his own weapon to help his son fend off the would be thieves as he is a former officer.

A gun battle ensues.

Pow. Pow. Pow.

One of the perpetrators is critically injured.

The young man who was visiting his parents is killed.

Another would be robber is also killed.

The car speeds off.

In the end, while the car or motorcycle is protected, the parents of the young man have to bury their fallen hero.

Down the street, a woman screams out, “my baby, my baby”.

It is assumed that she is the mother of the now deceased robber in front of the young man’s parents’ house.

Two young men gunned down in a tragic circumstance.

One mother is proud of what her son was trying to do.

Another is wondering why her baby was killed.

This scenario could happen anywhere at anytime.

Ironically and unfortunately in all to realistic fashion, it happened in Chicago.

In the May 20th issue of the Chicago Tribune, a story broke saying the following:

An off-duty police officer just back from Iraq was shot and killed after four people pulled up to his parents’ Chatham home Wednesday night and tried to steal his new motorcycle, authorities said.

Officer Thomas Wortham IV and his father, a retired police sergeant, exchanged gunfire with the robbers, sources said. One of the robbers was killed and another was critically wounded, authorities said.

The two others fled in a maroon Nissan Maxima. The car was recovered but police were still searching for the suspects this morning, police said.

Wortham, of the Englewood Police District, had just finished his second tour in Iraq, according to police sources and Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th). He was 30 and single, and had been on the force for three years, according to Supt. Jody Weis.

Only five days ago, Wortham had attended a memorial at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. for police officers killed in the line of duty last year. He was active in working against crime in his neighborhood and nearby Nat King Cole Park, where he was the Cole Park advisory council president.

That news story touched my heart because it showcased the biggest problem we have in this country: lack of respect for each other.

If you continue on reading the referenced article, you will come across a paragraph in which it is reported that a lady yelled out, “my baby, my baby”. According to the news account, she was put into a squad car and taken to an undisclosed location; presumably either the hospital or the precinct handling this case.

From the comments below the Tribune article, there was no sympathy to this lady and her family because it was supposedly her son who decided to try and steal the motorcycle that the officer had just purchased. The comments of so many readers of this article are being directed at her because they are accusing her of not doing her due diligence in child rearing.

In some instance these readers are right on target.

This mother is well within her right to wail about her loss but she also needs to realize that her ‘baby’ committed a crime that ended with the taking of another life.

Her baby wasn’t the victim; he was one of the perpetrators.

Yet it seems that when mothers of these ‘babies’ speak out, they are only looking at how they have lost a child.

Rarely do you hear a mother of a perpetrator extol any apologies to the true victims of the crime her child may have committed.

How many mothers of these wrongdoers have actively sought out the real victims and pledged to help ease their pain and sorrow?

Will the mother of the 20-year-old who was shot dead on that Chicago street go to the young officer’s parents and give her condolences?

The would be robbers in Chicago who looked at that motorcycle and thought, “we want it” deserve whatever punishment is coming to them and while we may all feel for those parents, I don’t think our hearts are going to be heavier than what it may feel for a victim to lose his or her life over physical property.

Society is all about forgiveness but as we are all seeing, society is tired of being the victim of senseless and baseless crimes.

There was no reason for this young officer to lose his life. He and his father had no control over the situation.

But the son of the wailing mother did have control and he chose to be a part of a crime that turned out to be a deadly one.

And while we all may feel the pain of these mothers whose children commit crimes, we are not going to run to their aid and say they are the victims of a cruel world.

Their children knew the risks when they turned to this criminal element to seed their financial needs.

And society deals with them in a fit that’s appropriate at times.

With harsh talk, tough love and even the occasional shunning in public.


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